2 Samuel 14:31
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Then Joab did go to Absalom's house, and he said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?"

King James Bible
Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire?

Darby Bible Translation
Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom to [his] house, and said to him, Why have thy servants set my allotment on fire?

World English Bible
Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom to his house, and said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?"

Young's Literal Translation
And Joab riseth and cometh unto Absalom in the house, and saith unto him, 'Why have thy servants burned the portion that I have with fire?'

2 Samuel 14:31 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Go and set it on fire - This was strange conduct, but it had the desired effect. He had not used his influence to get Absalom to court; now he uses it, and succeeds.

Additional observations on 2 Samuel 14:26 : -

"And at every year's end, he (Absalom) polled his head; and he weighed the hair at two hundred shekels."

The very learned Bochart has written a dissertation on this subject (vide Bocharti Opera, vol. iii., col. 883, edit. Lugd. 1692) in a letter to his friend M. Faukell. I shall give the substance in what follows.

There is nothing more likely than that corruptions in the Scripture numerals have taken place. Budaeus de Asse (lib. ii., p. 49 and 51, also lib. iii., p. 67 etc). complains loudly of this.

This might easily have happened, as in former times the numbers in the sacred writings appear to have been expressed by single letters. The letter ר resh stands for two hundred, and might in this place be easily mistaken for ד daleth which signifies four; but this may be thought to be too little, as it would not amount to more than a quarter of a pound; yet, if the two hundred shekels be taken in the amount will be utterly incredible; for Josephus says, (Antiq. lib. vii., cap. 8), Σικλους διακοσιους, οὑτοι δε εισι πεντε μναι, i.e., "Two hundred shekels make five minae," and in lib. xiv., cap. 12. he says, Ἡ δε μνα παρ' ἡμιν ισχει λιτρας β' και ημισυ; "And a mina with us (i.e., the Jews) weighs two pounds and a half." This calculation makes Absalom's hair weigh twelve pounds and a half! Credat Judaeus Apella!

Indeed, the same person tells us that the hair of Absalom was so thick, etc., ὡς μολις αυτην ἡμεραις αποκειρειν οκτω, "that eight days were scarcely sufficient to cut it off in!" This is rabbinism, with a witness.

Epiphanius, in his treatise De Ponderibus et Mensuris, casts much more light on this place, where he says, Σικλος ὁ λεγεται και κοδραντης τεταρτον μεν εστι της ουγκιας, ἡμισυ δε του στατηρος, δυο δραχμας εχων; "A shekel, (i.e., a common or king's shekel, equal to half a shekel of the sanctuary), which is called also a quarter, is the fourth part of an ounce, or half a stater; which is about two drachms." This computation seems very just, as the half-shekel, (i.e., of the sanctuary), Exodus 30:13, which the Lord commanded the children of Israel to give as an offering for their souls, is expressly called in Matthew 17:24, το διδραχμον, "two drachms:" and our Lord wrought a miracle to pay this, which the Romans then exacted by way of tribute: and Peter took out of the fish's mouth a stater, which contained exactly four drachms or one shekel, (of the sanctuary), the tribute money for our Lord and himself.

The king's shekel was about the fourth part of an ounce, according to what Epiphanius says above; and Hesychius says the same: Δυναται δε ὁ σικλος δυο δραχμας Αττικας; "A shekel is equal to, or worth, two Attic drachms." The whole amount, therefore, of the two hundred shekels is about fifty ounces, which make four pounds two ounces, Troy weight, or three pounds two ounces, Avoirdupois. This need not, says my learned author, be accounted incredible, especially as abundance of oil and ointments were used by the ancients in dressing their heads; as is evident, not only from many places in the Greek and Roman writers, but also from several places in the sacred writings. See Psalm 23:5; Ecclesiastes 9:8; Matthew 6:17.

Josephus also informs us that the Jews not only used ointments, but that they put gold dust in their hair, that it might flame in the sun; and this they might do in considerable quantities, as gold was so plentiful among them. I must own I have known an instance that makes much for Bochart's argument: an officer, who had upwards of two pounds of powder and ointments put on his head daily, whose hair did not weigh a fourth part of that weight. And Absalom, being exceedingly vain, might be supposed to make a very extensive use of these things. There are some, however, who endeavor to solve the difficulty by understanding שקל shakal to mean rather the value than the weight.

Bochart concludes this elaborate dissertation, in which he appears to have ransacked all the Hebrew, Greek, and Roman authors for proofs of his opinion, by exhorting his friend in these words of Horace: -

- Si quid novisti rectius istis,

Candidus imperti; si non, his utere mecum.

To me the above is quite unsatisfactory; and, with due deference to so great a character, I think I have found out something better.


Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

2 Samuel 14:30 Therefore he said to his servants, "See, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire." So Absalom's servants set the field on fire.

2 Samuel 14:32 Absalom answered Joab, "Behold, I sent for you, saying, 'Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me still to be there."' Now therefore, let me see the king's face, and if there is iniquity in me, let him put me to death."

God's Banished Ones
'God doth devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him.' 2 SAMUEL xiv. 14. David's good-for-nothing son Absalom had brought about the murder of one of his brothers, and had fled the country. His father weakly loved the brilliant blackguard, and would fain have had him back, but was restrained by a sense of kingly duty. Joab, the astute Commander-in- chief, a devoted friend of David, saw how the land lay, and formed a plan to give the king an excuse for doing what he wished to do. So
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Hebrew Sages and their Proverbs
[Sidenote: Role of the sages in Israel's life] In the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Jer. xviii. 18; Ezek. vii. 26) three distinct classes of religious teachers were recognized by the people: the prophets, the priests, and the wise men or sages. From their lips and pens have come practically all the writings of the Old Testament. Of these three classes the wise men or sages are far less prominent or well known. They wrote no history of Israel, they preached no public sermons, nor do they appear
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

Cross References
2 Samuel 14:30
Then he said to his servants, "Look, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire." So Absalom's servants set the field on fire.

2 Samuel 14:32
Absalom said to Joab, "Look, I sent word to you and said, 'Come here so I can send you to the king to ask, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there!"' Now then, I want to see the king's face, and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death."

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